Let AG’s office tackle Medicaid

It ought to tell West Virginia legislators something that officials of the U.S. Social Security Administration view state Attorney General Patrick Morrisey’s office as a valuable partner in cracking down on fraud.

How valuable? Last year, Morrisey’s office was key in spotting enough fraud and waste in the Social Security disability program to save taxpayers about $6.2 million. That brings the total savings achieved by the Cooperative Disability Investigations Unit to more than $14.3 million since the work began in December 2015.

Morrisey is renewing his request that legislators allow his office to tackle Medicaid fraud in West Virginia. Those investigations currently are handled by the state Department of Health and Human Resources, even though most states place the responsibility with their attorneys general.

Investigating Medicaid fraud through his office could save taxpayers millions of dollars a year, Morrisey believes. That also would have the benefit of freeing up more money for truly deserving West Virginians who need health care assistance.

Lawmakers have not reacted positively to Morrisey’s suggestion in the past. That may have something to do with partisan politics, or it may be a matter of the DHHR protecting its own “turf.”

Whatever the reason, it ought to be re-examined. Morrisey’s office is getting results for the Social Security program. Giving him a chance to do something similar with West Virginia’s costly Medicaid system makes dollars-and-cents sense.

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